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At Home and Abroad

Detroit, March, 2005---Gerard ter Borch  (1617-1681) is the Dutch Master who captured intimate moments of everyday life with elegance and grace.  The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is presenting the stunning exhibition, Gerard ter Borch now until May 22, 2005.  This is the first presentation in North America exclusively of works by Ter Borch, one of the finest portrait and genre painters of the 17th century.  Gerard ter Borch comprises 46 of his best masterpieces that have been brought together from 29 private and public collections including the National Gallery in London and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, along with two pieces from DIA's renowned 17th century Dutch collection.  The DIA will be the only other U.S. venue for Gerard ter Borch after its successful run in Washington D.C. at the National Gallery.

"Many of Gerard ter Borch's paintings depict in a painstaking realist technique, social and psychological interactions among the well-to-do in Holland.  While some scenes seem immediately decipherable, the precise meanings of others has eluded scholars and connoisseurs for the best part pf three centuries," says Graham W.J. Beal, DIA director.

A Brief Biography of Gerard ter Borch

Gerard ter Borch the Younger was born in Zwolle, the Netherlands, in 1617 to an affluent family of artists, but he would become the most accomplished and successful. He showed early aptitude as an artist while studying drawing with his father, Gerard ter Borch the Elder, producing his first accomplished piece in 1625. In 1633, he moved to Haarlem and became a master in the St. Luke’s Guild for painters while collaborating on landscape portraits during his apprenticeship for Pieter Molijn. Soon after, Ter Borch visited London, where he was trained by his uncle, engraver Robert van Voerst. It has also been documented that he traveled to other countries in Europe to study, including Spain, where he was privileged to paint a portrait of King Philip IV in 1637.

Although Ter Borch was schooled in many disciplines of fine art, he became most appreciated as an oil painter, earning praise for his ability to render the varied textures of luxurious fabrics such as silk, satin, lace and leather. Ter Borch’s work also went beyond masterful technique; his psychological insight into the drama of the encounters he depicted, capturing the inner life of his subjects, set him apart from his contemporaries. In addition to Ter Borch’s many portraits and genre scenes, he recorded important historical events during his three-year stay in Münster, Westphalia. Two of his renowned paintings, The Swearing of the Oath of Ratification of the Treaty of Münster (1648) and The Arrival of Adriaen de Pauw (1646), were the most celebrated among his political depictions.In 1654, Ter Borch married Geertruyt Matthijs, with whom he settled in Deventer and become a gemeensman (city counselor) in 1666. He remained in Deventer, painting high Dutch society until he died in 1681.

A Fashion Tidbit

If you look carefully at the soles of the figures' shoes in Dutch art  representing the well-to-do of this era, you will also see that the soles are never scuffed or soiled.  This is because the wealthy Dutch were carried everywhere---they never walked in the streets.  The contemporary Paris shoemaker Christian Louboutin, creates his exclusive "red sole" shoes in tribute to these times.  And Former Vogue and Harper's Bazaar editor Diana Vreeland had her maid polish the soles of her boots every night.



The Detroit Institute of Art

5200 Woodward Avenue

Gerard ter Borch

through May 22, 2005




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